7 March 2011

London agrees, the Lebanese are no sheep.

A week ago, I was in Lebanon. It felt different. The spirit of the Arab revolutions is spreading fast and can even be felt in Jounieh. Young people— who previously seemed simultaneously super-politicized because they survived quite a few wars and yet apolitical because they chose to avoid being part of the corrupted political system— are now leading one of the most interesting political debates and demonstrations the country had seen for a long time.

On the night before the first scheduled demonstration, some of my Beiruti friends didn't want to go out because they were worried about not waking up in time to participate in the march. For those who don't know, this is pretty unusual for Beirutis on a Saurday night! The few of us who did go out spent it obsessing about the march, coming up with slogans and chants. I have never seen my friends this excited ever since we were at the Lebanese University in Beirut, which was between 2000 (when the South was liberated) and 2005 (when PM Hariri got assassinated). During that period, we felt very hopeful; some of us invested a lot of time and energy to form a secular political group in a largely sectarian right wing university.

The next day on Sunday 27th of February, we went to the march under the heaviest rain I've personally seen in Beirut for years. I worried that I'd find about 10 over excited lunatics but there were thousands of brave people from all age groups. I completely fell in love with the city again. The ambiance was so refreshing and plain fantastic. People were laughing as they were getting drenched with rain and no one was complaining. A stranger offered me his jacket. I was distributing fliers to the cars passing by when a very posh looking lady called me to her Mercedes. For a moment I thought she was going to spit in my face for holding her back in traffic; instead, she offered me an umbrella probably made by Prada. On my way back, I was pretty sure that no taxi driver will be willing to pick me up and soak the car with my dripping-wet clothes. I was again wrong and the driver even refused to charge me. He asked me to read him some of the slogans to which he replied: "You were protesting for me and you so the least I could do is give you a free ride."

Yesterday Sunday 6th of March marked the second protest in Beirut. I have never felt so homesick before. I felt the need to act. So I printed some of the 'No Sheep' signs that were being used in the protest in Lebanon and asked my friends, the Lebanese that I know in London and random people on the streets to hold them in solidarity.

This video is a message of solidarity to the brave Lebanese who are protesting against the corrupted warlords who brought upon us civil wars and drowned us in debts. To those in power, we send you our middle finger and say: your turn is coming, there is no more doubt about it!

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